December 10, 2013 at 6:28 AM
President Obama has initiated the push, now the Senate and House must come together
On Thursday, the president ordered the federal government to almost triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020 [“Obama to feds: Boost renewable power 20 percent,” Online, Dec. 5].
This push by the executive toward a more eco-friendly federal government is one that should be commended and mirrored by Congress. It may seem far-fetched, but if the parties could come together in the U.S. Senate and House and resolve to make key decisions in the fight against global warming we might start to see some progress in Washington, D.C., again. It is the purpose of this article to pose the question: Why can’t an “eco-fed” be a bridge issue between not only the president and Congress but within Congress as well?
December 3, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Future generations require our action now
The guest column by Gillen D’Arcy Wood should be a wake-up call for all [“Typhoon Haiyan recalls past global cataclysm,” Opinion, Dec. 1].
The impact of superstorms like Typhoon Haiyan, attributed to warming ocean waters, are a harbinger of the likely future impacts of climate change on a global scale. The frequency of storm-related disasters linked to a warming planet are now irrefutable and are becoming the new normal as a way of life. Echoing the column, “The Haiyan challenge is far greater: to make a stand for humanity’s future on a livable planet.”
October 31, 2013 at 7:02 PM
West coast at the forefront of strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy
Great move by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, California Gov. Jerry Brown, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark in signing a joint climate change accord that will cover the length of the North American west coast.
Let’s hope the legislatures for the states and province involved get behind this and give it some teeth. I have long wondered when a real leader would step forward and do something about climate change — words are a nice first step, but real action counts far more.
Let’s hope this plan is the step forward that is needed. Too many people worry about the money they can make today or tomorrow, and to heck with the consequences. However, our children and our children’s children will have much different feelings about the impacts of climate change. Thank you governors and premier for your leadership and vision on this critical matter.
Mike Shaw, Edmonds
October 9, 2013 at 7:09 PM
We need to make climate change a priority
I want to say, in the midst of the unnecessary and relatively absurd current hoopla in Washington, D.C., thanks for your story last week on the IPCC report. It’s another confirmation by the best international scientists of our moment of jeopardy and opportunity.
Yes, the situation is dire. If we’d like to keep our planet recognizable, we have to live within a 1-trillion ton carbon budget. We’ve spent more than half of it already. By 2040, we’ll be “over budget” if we don’t make changes.
But we can do something. Since Congress has failed to respond, the president is stepping up with regulations to limit carbon emissions. It’s a good start, but I’m hoping the United States will follow the lead of France, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland and enact a market-based solution, like a carbon tax. A number of conservatives — Art Laffer, Greg Mankiw, George Shultz — support a revenue-neutral carbon tax to reduce the effects of climate change. A tax on carbon would fix the distortion in the marketplace that leaves fossil fuels unaccountable for the damage they do to society.
Citizens are ready to do more than change lightbulbs. We’re ready to pay modest increases for gas at the pump when we know it’s part of a shared plan to combat the disastrous changes we’re seeing already: bigger wildfires, more destructive floods, more severe droughts, and ocean acidification — which The Times profiled so well in its recent series. And with a revenue-neutral tax, we wouldn’t sacrifice much, since we would receive dividends that would help us redirect our spending toward more efficient systems for getting around and heating our homes.
Mary K. Manous, Seattle
March 28, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Coal terminals will counteract environmental progress
On behalf of FRIENDS of the San Juans, I would like to thank Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for urging a thorough examination of the greenhouse-gas emissions and other air-quality effects of coal leasing and export in their March 25 letter to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality [“2 governors wade into coal-export controversy,” NWTuesday, March 26].
Climate change is the most far-reaching impact of coal export for our global community. In San Juan County alone it could mean greater sea-level rise, more extreme weather events and increased ocean acidification that will impact our shellfisheries.
The Gateway Pacific Terminal north of Bellingham would ship 48 million metric tons (MMT) of coal every year. Burning this coal would create 96 MMT of carbon dioxide every year. Washington state’s 2010 carbon-dioxide emissions due to fossil-fuel combustion totaled 76.64 MMT every year (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). Just one of the proposed coal terminals would double our state’s greenhouse-gas emissions — counteracting all of Washington’s leadership in setting progressive policies intended to address our effect on climate change.
I am encouraged to see Govs. Inslee and Kitzhaber working together to take a stand on climate change that is associated with coal export. This is an important step toward making sure all environmental impacts are evaluated when permits are being considered for the coal-export terminals in Washington and Oregon.
–Katie Fleming, community engagement director, FRIENDS of the San Juans, Friday Harbor
Coal project proponents should welcome close scrutiny
This week Gov. Jay Inslee asked the federal government to undertake a “thorough examination” of Washington’s proposed coal-export facilities, as reported in The Seattle Times. I have noticed that each time an elected official, citizen group, tribal council, physicians group or other calls for close study of the proposed coal export terminals, the companies and individuals positioned to benefit financially from the projects issue dire warning: “It will cost us!” “This is a bad precedent for business!”
I think most Washingtonians see through this and are left wondering what coal-port cheerleaders have to hide. If the Gateway Pacific Terminal and other coal-export projects are such a good idea for our communities, then project proponents should welcome — rather than attempt to thwart — close scrutiny by the public and decision-makers.
–Shannon Wright, executive director, Communitywise, Bellingham
March 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Governors show commendable leadership
Reading the newspaper does not usually inspire spontaneous cheering, but reading “2 governors wade into coal-export controversy” [NWTuesday, March 26] did just that.
As one of countless citizens concerned about climate change, I agree that greenhouse-gas pollution connected with coal export needs a comprehensive evaluation. Other kinds of pollution, from burning coal and issues related to coal leasing, also deserve review.
The leadership shown by Govs. Jay Inslee and John Kitzhaber is commendable.
–Connie Voget, Seattle
Being a climate leader means saying no to coal
Way to go Gov. Jay Inslee and Gov. John Kitzhaber! With your joint letter to President Obama asking the federal government to review the climate-change consequences of leasing and exporting Western coal, you are bravely leading us all forward where we need to go.
The governors are absolutely right when they say that the U.S. can’t claim to be a world leader in climate-restoration policy, and then have a reckless and dangerous coal-export policy. It’s no great mystery how coal exports will be used. They won’t be used to build statues or grow crops; exported coal will be burned, to the great detriment of our whole planet. We should stay as far away from this dirty coal business as possible.
–Mike Shaw, Edmonds
March 25, 2013 at 7:05 AM
We are too relaxed about climate change
It is no secret by now, to anyone paying attention that the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is not only that climate change is accelerating alarmingly fast, but that it’s largely being fueled by dirty technologies. As a species, we are far too relaxed about this; I am guessing due to denial, since we are talking about a looming death threat to our entire species, and most of us simply don’t have the courage to face that horrific reality. Whether we face it or not, we are well on the road to our own destruction, and hiding from it will only make it inevitable.
The Keystone XL project being debated right now would carry tar sands, not crude oil [“Keystone fears resonate along New England pipeline,” seattletimes.com, March 17]. NASA’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, said that tar sands development would mean “game over for the climate.”
It seems to me the overwhelming body of evidence points to the alarming conclusion that we are killing our grandchildren, if not our children, by not acting to drastically reduce our climate impact. The proposed project instead would drastically increase it. The crimes of Hitler and all the world’s worst mass murderers would be dwarfed by our criminal decision to go ahead with Keystone.
Even for skeptics of climate-science realities, the choice to do nothing, or worse, to increase our impact, would be hopelessly immoral if there were only a 1 percent chance that science is right. We simply can’t afford to get this wrong.
Obviously, to say that approving the project would be wrong would be a spectacular understatement. We must all do everything in our power to stop it; every life on this planet is at stake, save perhaps some of the bugs and bacteria.
–Greg Vinson, Seattle
March 22, 2013 at 6:39 AM
Debate about solutions, not reality
I am disappointed to see Sen. Doug Ericksen carrying water for Big Oil and Coal by promoting climate-science denial [“Inslee’s passion: climate change,” page one, March 18]. Ericksen said, “Whenever you speak about absolutes about the science being concluded, history is replete with people being proven wrong.”
As a business owner, I’m concerned about the economic implications of ignoring science. Our economy depends on knowledge, innovation and quality science. Our commitment to research and knowledge-based economic leadership is central to our state’s success.
There’s plenty of room for philosophical debate about policy approaches to this challenge. But there is no longer a legitimate debate about the basic science. If 97 doctors diagnosed a life-threatening condition that required immediate treatment and three doctors said nothing, should one ignore the other 97? Most of the confusing information is bought and paid for by industries and political groups that remain committed to creating doubt and inaction.
We can reduce our fossil-fuel dependence while building strong local economies. Our leaders should have a robust debate about which solutions will work best. But it’s not responsible for our leaders to argue about reality or about the need to act.
–Kurt Waldenberg, North Sound Energy & Remodel, Bellingham
March 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Pipeline will lead to runaway climate change
I urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline and for your readers to speak out against it [“Obama’s climate goals shape Energy, EPA choices,” News, March 5].
Despite what a few industry-paid climate-denial “scientists” are mouthing, the scientific community as a whole is practically unanimous in validating the urgency of reducing climate-warming carbon pollution, which is a direct result of fossil fuel production and consumption.
Tar-sand fuel is a “carbon time bomb.” While our oil-addicted economy may be tempted to grab this quick fix, doing so will accelerate runaway climate change. Keystone XL will do nothing to solve America’s energy independence and only result in environmental desecration due to inevitable spills, which usually are borne unevenly by America’s poor and people of color, certainly not those few shareholders who are lobbying in D. C. heavily for this project.
As individuals, as a nation and as an interdependent global community, we need to take responsibility now for a sustainable energy future through massive investments in solar, wind and other sources. We still have options to forge a path of sustainability for our children and future generations, but time is not on our side.
–Jordan Van Voast, Seattle
We need the economic stimulus
I’m responding to the letter “Obama nominees and Keystone Pipeline” [Northwest Voices, March 11]:
How do you know the pipeline will contribute to climate change? How do you know job creation will be negligible? Strong statements without backup.
I’m a new Washingtonian from Alaska (30 years). I’m familiar with the trans-Alaska Pipeline. Maintenance alone requires a workforce on a pipeline. When running pigs through the pipeline for diagnostics, people are required to read and respond to the data. Alyeska Pipeline Service Company employs 800 people plus contracted workers; all good-paying jobs. The pipeline is 35 years old and has pumped nearly 17 billion barrels.
Climate change: You’re hard pressed to convince Alaskans the pipeline damages the environment — even at Prudhoe Bay where oil enters the line. It’s heavily monitored, as it should be. Alaska’s pipeline record demonstrates a pipeline can be placed in delicate/fragile environments without damage. The Porcupine Caribou herd has only increased since the pipeline completion.
Alaska is planning a natural-gas line and has the track record to support another project. Please consider these facts. I hope Keystone Pipeline begins. We need the economic stimulus.
–Vicki Schneibel, Sequim
March 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Stand up to greed
Greed may trump efforts to leave our children and their children a healthy planet. Why would anyone invest in the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the plant if not out of greed?
Be a voice of sanity and let President Obama and locally elected officials know that rejection of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is one of the most important and immediate executive steps the president can take to address the climate crisis [“Obama’s climate goals shape Energy, EPA choices,” News, March 5].
NASA’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, said that tar sands development would mean “game over for the climate.”
Like the coal exports through the Northwest, the tar sands pipeline stands to damage the environment over the creation of sustainable jobs. Most of the money earned in both the coal and tar sands scenarios will go to a few top executives for whom money matters most.
Stand up to greed. Stand up for the Earth.
–Wendy Marcus, Seattle
Protect wildlife from climate change
President Obama must reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if he wants to keep his promise to protect America’s wildlife and communities from climate change, a fact that’s only reinforced by a recent State Department review. That woefully inadequate analysis failed not only in its review of climate science, but whistled past the threat of oil spills to endangered wildlife.
Tar sands drilling in Canada threatens gray wolves, lynx and woodland caribou. In America’s heartland, corrosive tar sands oil raises the risk of pipeline spills, menacing endangered whooping cranes. And the global warming pollution emitted at every step of production threatens wildlife nationwide, from Alaska’s polar bears to Minnesota’s moose to Virginia’s brook trout to Colorado’s mule deer.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have raised their voices for wildlife protection and climate action. President Obama should listen to them and say no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
–Richard Landowski, Gig Harbor
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